The Search For Ideas: Start With Yourself

So, you are eager to take the entrepreneurial plunge. But how and where do you begin? I suggest you start with your own life and experiences:

1. Frustrations: Things that frustrate you in your immediate life, where you say to yourself, "Why do they do this or why do they not do this?" I wonder if this is how Zuckerberg started Facebook when he could not get a date? On a less jocular note, Dropbox came about because Drew Houston found himself in a place where he wanted to work, but had forgotten to bring his flash drive containing the files he needed.

2. Improvements: There is this app that you use, all the time, but something about it always irks you. Maybe you need to develop a new app. If you have such a need, others probably do too. Babylicious, a UK company, was started by a mother who was not satisfied by the convenience of the baby food available. She decided to develop a baby food in the form of ice cubes.

3. Hobbies: This is a fertile area. Do you like playing games? Is that how Candy Crush came about? Instagram was a hobby before it became a big business. Do you have a hobby that would enrich the world and you?

4. Passion: This drives many of us. What are you passionate about? Photography? Helping the indigent? Scarce water resources? Teaching? Saving the whales? Whatever it might be, what could you do to actually make a difference? Patagonia has combined its passion for the environment with its clothing business. Kiva allows people to provide help to the needy with microloans.

5. Cross Pollination: Perhaps you saw something in your travels that you think could be used in your hometown; or you saw an idea on the web that could be applied to another business. Nowadays, ideas float freely across borders. Flipkart is attempting to do in India what Amazon has done in the United States and Europe.

There are other ways of searching for new ideas too. We shall discuss these in the next post.